NORMAN — District Court Judge Tom Lucas, who announced his Aug. 1 retirement, is the most senior of the district court judges in Judicial District 21.
When Judge Lucas, 79, was first elected district judge, he had already practiced law for 30 years, including 15 years as a Norman municipal judge with an active private law practice in civil and criminal litigation. When he was elected as district judge, he brought his diverse litigation experiences with him to the bench.
He was first elected district judge in 1994 and sworn in 1995 after defeating an incumbent judge.
Lucas is credited with introducing “drug court” in Cleveland County, whereby drug offenders are under close and regular monitoring by the court to help them avoid further drug abuse and become productive citizens.
He was most recently elected in 2010 to a four-year term, receiving more than 68 percent of the votes cast in Cleveland, McClain and Garvin counties — more than any other judicial candidate.
Lucas was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and a captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve during the 1950s and 60s. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1964. He resides in Norman with his wife, Crystal Lucas.
Lucas’ vacancy will be filled through appointment by Gov. Mary Fallin after nominations are received from the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission.
Lucas said he was announcing his retirement in advance of the actual retirement date to give the commission and governor more time to appoint a replacement judge. His letter of resignation was sent to the governor this week.